Exploring the crime of identity theft: Prevalence, clearance rates, and victim/offender characteristics

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Although the crime of identity theft has garnered a great deal of media attention, relatively little empirical research existed on the prevalence of the crime, its clearance rate by arrest, or the demographic characteristics of the victims and the identifiable offenders. The purpose of this article is to expand the knowledge of this growing crime. Using data from a large municipal police department located in Florida as a database, the findings suggested that the number of reported incidents of identity theft appeared to be growing at a greater rate than other theft-related offenses and the clearance rate for identity theft appeared to be declining. The typical apprehended offender was African American, female, unemployed, working alone, and was unknown to the victims, who tended to be White and male.

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Journal of Criminal Justice, v. 33, issue 1, p. 19-29